Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

Plastic waste from Sabarimala devotees kills wild elephant in Kerala forest

elephant calf The pachyderm has two kilograms of plastic waste inside. (File photo for representative purposes only)
Press Trust of India | Pathanamthitta | Posted: February 3, 2014 2:24 pm

At a time when animal lovers are concerned about plastic articles being abandoned in forests, a 40-year-old female elephant was found dead with about two kg of plastic waste in its bowels in a forest near the holy hill Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta district recently.

The plastic articles consumed by the jumbo was believed to have been the left over of the two-month long pilgrimage of Sabarimala, which concluded last month. The carcass of the jumbo was sighted at Valiyaanavattom under the wildlife area of Periyar west division on Saturday.

A top official said huge piles of plastic waste,including polythene carry bags, aluminium foil papers and wrappers of packed food were found in its abdomen during post-mortem.

“The carcass of the elephant was spotted during routine field check. About two kg of plastic waste was found in its abdomen during post-mortem. It could not take any food at least for some weeks,” said Sunil Babu, deputy director, Periyar west division.

“According to the veterinarians, the animal died of constipation and intestinal blockage. It could not digest the plastic in the intestine or take any other food,” he said.  He, however, said no similar incident was reported in the area in the recent past though the presence of plastic waste had been found in the dung of the wild animals before.

Stern action was necessary to keep the forest clean and plastic-free, the official added. The carcass was cremated inside the Valiyaanavattom forest yesterday.

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